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OTC Drug Facts
OTC (over the counter) medications are drugs that can be purchased without a prescription at pharmacies, supermarkets, or even convenience stores. In the U.S. there are over 750 OTC drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When you use an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, reading the drug product's labeling is important for taking care of yourself and your family. The label tells you drug facts about what the medicine is supposed to do, who should or should not take it, and how to use it. The labeling of OTC medicines has always contained usage and safety information for consumers. With the introduction of the "Drug Facts" label, the information is more uniform and easier to read and understand. These drugs often contain the same or similar ingredients as prescribed drugs. Used as directed, these medications may help people that suffer from mild to moderate headaches, pain, colds and coughs. However, they can also be potentially dangerous. These OTC drugs include sleep aids, diet pills, motion sickness pills and cough and cold medicine to name a few. By far, according to the FDA, DXM is the most commonly misused and abused over the counter product available today. Listed below are some important facts about some of the most common OTC drugs.
DXM is slang for Dextromethorphan, which is an ingredient in many cold and cough medicines including pills, gel caps, liquids and powders. Some of the different brand names include Robitussin, Triaminic, NyQuil, Dimetapp, Contact and Coricidin to name a few. The most common street names for these drugs are Robo, Skittles, Syrup, Triple-C and Tussin. The effects of DXM abuse vary with the amount taken, as with any OTC drug. The signs of abuse include sweating, skin irritation, and shortness of breath, abdominal pain, slurred speech and vomiting. Some users have reported taking as much as 30 times the recommended doses, and the fact is, these individuals could have died from such extreme doses. The dangers of DXM abuse are many. In addition to the risk of injury or death as a result of accidents, violence, or overdose, DMX can be fatal. The OTC drug DXM can cause or worsen many aspects of an individual's physical health, including liver damage, heat stroke, brain damage, and coma and in some cases death.
Some other commonly abused OTC drugs include diet pills like Dexatrim. Individuals often take more of this medication than recommended for energy high, but instead often end up with heart palpitations bad enough to land them in a hospital emergency room. The motion sickness drug Dramamine, is another OTC drug that, when abused can have side effects that include hallucinations. Sleep aids are another popular over the counter medication that can be addictive. Some brand name OTC medications to induce sleep include Tylenol P.M. and Sominex.
Over the counter medications (OTC's) are available without a prescription, but they're still medications and have risks and side effects. Take them seriously and read the drug facts labels each time you take the medication. The fact is that OTC drugs can be addictive and the side effects can result in permanent physical damage, including death. There is hope for people who are addicted to OTC medication, hope through treatment in a supportive, professional environment.